The Coral: Nick Power's Tour Diary
We have all been there. Lying in deep contemplation; imagining what it would be like touring with a band of our own creation. Then we open our eyes; the luxuries fade and the roller coaster disappears. Well, perception and reality are often two different entities.
The Coral released their new album, ‘Distance Inbetween’ this year; an album that is heavier and trippier to previous works and a psych-rock album that matches anything released in recent times. They have toured extensively in the past year and Coral multi-instrumentalist and poet, Nick Power kept a tour diary; offering an insight into the experiences that (perhaps) escaped our imaginings.
Read an exclusive instalment from Nick's diary below:
A LONG WAY FROM THE BRONX
In a rural village half an hour's drive from Newcastle city centre, we pull up in the pitch-dark to a hotel called The Angel Inn. The town is one of those picturesque hamlets full of terraced Georgian houses built from slabs of pale yellow stone. There're tiny high streets full of bookshops, expensive craft stores and pubs with names like the Black Bull and The Duke of Wellington. Everything is asleep, save for an oak-panelled bar where a sympathetic barman serves us whiskey and cold Guinness.
The next day I'm woken by an angry room maid knocking at the door with the tip of a key. I can't blame her for being eager to get in though- It's two p.m. I should have vacated the room three hours ago. I get out of bed, throw on some clothes and collect my things. There is a score of missed calls on my phone. The rest of the band are apparently over the road in the main building of the Inn, waiting to leave.
On my way out, I notice a small business card on the floor. I pick it up. There's a drawing of a jewelled hammer, and the words 'Odinism and an Asatru England: A practical possibility through our cultural and political struggle.' Some strange religious ramblings adorn the back, pagan text that alludes to 'bloodlines' and 'empowerment' and 'the divine ones.' It's as if the thing has been slipped under my door in the night in an attempt to recruit me into some sect. I leave it where I found it.
After lunch, our tour manager, Big John offers to drive me down to the festival site, but I opt to walk instead; it's a fine day and I want to take in some of the sun. Also, Grandmaster Flash is set to play before us and if I time it right, he'll be on stage just as I arrive. I amble up to a small stage in a nondescript field. Families sit in deckchairs supping pop and real ale. Kids in daffodil headbands take part in a penalty shoot-out. We could be at a primary school summer fair. Essentially, this is a stop off on the way home from T in the Park, which was a smash n' grab affair; in and out within an hour of performing. Tonight's gig serves to pay our overheads for the weekend. It's a small gig with no pressure and they're usually quite fun to play.
As I approach the stage, I hear a hip-hop version of Red Red Wine, followed by The Pink Panther theme. I'm confused as to whether it's Grandmaster flash at all, as I expected something else, something more Wild Style than DJ Party Megamix. It segues into a version of My Girl after that, complete with handclaps and shouts of "throw your hands in the air." I'm at the side of the stage now, watching. It's definitely him. At one point, he stops the music and sits on a monitor at the front of the stage. Addressing the crowd, he says:
"I don't normally like playing festivals. I prefer parties. So y'all gotta work with me now. Help me out."
He returns to the turntables and resumes the set. By the time he's walked off stage I'm thinking he hasn't even played any of his own classics - White Lines, Beat Street or The Message. It was more akin to something you'd hear at a wedding. Then again, he bows out to wild applause, so maybe it was more a matter of survival in an alien environment. Who knows.
As we're preparing to go on, he sits alone at a huge circular table next to our dressing room. Picks dejectedly at a chicken dinner with a plastic fork. Kids with vague Geordie accents play behind a steel fence outside the huge tent where he's sat. I've never seen anyone look as far away from home as he does right now. He's a long way from The Bronx, I'm certain of that.